That was a decade ago, and Cesar Binag
was then a young police captain fresh from a stint with the elite Special Action Force (SAF) that battled coup plotters and insurgents.
, who was trained in the Philipppine Military Academy
new assignment was boring.
Or at least that's how it seemed at first.
One day a friend invited him for dinner.
quickly accepted, perhaps thinking it was going to be a nice break from the drudgery of his
friend served up a temptation, a situation Binag would find himself in repeatedly.
friend turned up, he
had in tow a foreign businessman with an eye on a P250-million contract the department was bidding out.
The businessman's proposition was simple: Binag
would provide a copy of a document detailing the contract's specifications, thereby giving the foreigner an edge in the bidding war.
In exchange, Binag
would get 1.5 percent of the contract budget, or P3.75 million.
Half that amount was his
for the taking right there and then, if he
"Politely I said to them, 'I cannot do that,'" recounts Binag
, now in his
isn't exactly a rebel or a maverick but it seems the country's armed services do have their share of officers who know how to just say no. For a time, this had been hard for the public even to imagine, especially after the media exposé on Gen.
has turned down bribes and believes that it is possible to make the police a more accountable institution.
Binag, now a superintendent and chief of the PNP's resource reform unit, is a born-again Christian.
talks about "conversion," though, he
means not the welcoming of a newcomer to his
faith, but the practice of transferring or realigning funds intended for other purposes that in the process often end up in the pockets of corrupt officers.
But both Azul and Binag
seem to have found a comfortable balance.
It helps that officers like Azul and Binag
took up management studies in institutions such as the University of the Philippines
, the Asian Institute of Management
, or even schools overseas, where they were exposed to better and more effective ways of doing things.
Binag, who has run the range of police duties from being police station commander to heading the PNP's Traffic Management Group, likewise talks about having ordered time-and-motion studies to identify bottlenecks in the PNP units where he has been posted.
says leadership trainings are passing on effective management styles to potential young leaders in PNP offices where reforms are most needed.
Because reforms are grounded on the hope and the desire that things will change, Binag
says, the first step is to restore hope.
"Hope is not a method," he
, too, doesn't think a revolt is in the offing.
But that's because he
spurs defending the government.
After all, in the SAF, which he
had joined right after graduating from the PMA
in 1987, he
co-recruits were almost immediately fighting off coups that rocked the Aquino
administration during its early years.